Month: April 2015

Personalised storage – make for yourself, or give as a lovely gift

Lots of us have storage jars around the home keeping everything from tea bags to cotton wool to elastic bands in order. Many high street versions can be a bit boring and there’s not really much choice if you want something fun. I had an idea to get some push top glass Kilner jars and add my own words using self-adhesive vinyl letters I found on EBay – such a simple but really effective trick! They stick really easily, the only difficulty is getting them straight but if you’re worried then wrap masking tape round to give you a line to work on. Sometimes it’s hard to think of personal gifts for friends and family, but who wouldn’t be cheered by a jar of cookies (home baked even better) with cheeky slogan or simply a name on the front? Write anything you want, and the stickers come in lots of colours so you can be as creative as you like – the choice is yours 🙂

Hang a gallery picture wall to add personality to your home

Blank walls in a home are common, but can make a room look boring and characterless. Either we finish decorating and haven’t the energy to put anything up, can’t find anything we like, or just don’t know where to start. A gallery wall, where a display of pictures, photos or other art either of similar ilk or vastly different hang together in a group. This can either be in a structured group with matching frames or a mis-matched collection for eclectic, relaxed style. The former is pretty easy to achieve, the latter, although looking unstructured can be trickier but well worth the effort. Whatever you decide to do, always use a spirit level so your results are considered and beautiful, not wonky! What to put up? The choice is yours of course, but it can be great to take the opportunity of finally printing out some photos from your phone to frame. My iPhone pics are a high enough resolution to print out pretty large so as long as you’re not thinking poster size, upload …

Upcycling: Fabulous chest of drawers revamp for on-trend style

A shabby wooden chest of drawers can be transformed over a weekend turning it from garage-worthy, to something that you’ll be proud to have in your home. This was a great upcycle feature I did for the fab “Your Home” magazine (lots of projects every month) and it can be achieved with any drawer unit as long as the unit is solid wood. You could also label each drawer with the contents – different clothing items, or office sundries etc depending on where you will use the drawers. Step by step instructions are below – photos are by Lizzie Orme. Remove the handles from the drawers, and use wood filler to fill the holes –read the packaging to ensure the filler can be varnished. Check the piece for any wobbles and remedy any problems at this stage by tightening screws or using wood glue where necessary. Use an electric sander with medium grade sandpaper to remove all the dark varnish coating the piece. Don’t worry about getting a completely clean finish on the wood as some colour …

Never lose your TV remote (or book or ipad) again

TV remotes have a habit of getting lost, and just as you sit down on the sofa you invariably want a pen, ipad, or the craft project you’re working on and they’re never at hand. The fabulous Love Sewing magazine asked me to make a useful little fabric caddy that wraps over the arm of your sofa with pockets to keep everything safe. This month’s issue also has step by step instructions and photos to illustrate so you won’t get in a muddle so it’s a great project for even a novice seamstress. You could change the design to meet your needs with pockets to fit whatever you need and add vertical stitching lines if you want different compartments. This is do-able in a couple of hours and would also make a lovely gift, so get stitching! 

Boys bedroom ideas – making the most of a shared space

Kids bedrooms often fall into the pink and princessy for girls or pirates/lego/cars etc for boys. There’s not enough choice out there really to help parents do anything a bit different so I was delighted to help out when I was asked to do a bedroom makeover for two little boys who shared a room. Mum wanted lots of storage, as well as maintaining floor space so they had a place to play. I looked for ways of creating a room with personality that they liked now but would stand the test of time too and making it a fun place to be. This makeover was featured in Your Home magazine – always full of fabulous ideas. The eldest boy was interested in science, planets and stars so this was a great starting point. I found a wall mural at Wallpaperdirect that’s got the most incredible print of constellations with a pirate ship and beautiful detail. This just show how something “grown up” can be used successfully in a child’s room so always look outside the children’s section. …

Beautify your bathroom

Bathroom accessories are often functional but really rather boring and that’s something, as a stylist, I’m always looking to change. By nature, bathrooms can be quite clinical looking, what with all the flat smooth lines and tiles, so when my copy of the latest catalogue from gorgeous retailer Cox & Cox fell on my doormat this morning with some amazing things I had to tell you about them. There’s a really stunning range with vintage feel that would suit pretty much any bathroom. Soft enough in style to suit those with traditional, country taste, but with an industrial edge that would look fab in a sleek contemporary room. My favourite is the wall rack with baskets to keep everything in order. It’s so full of character and will fill a blank space nicely as well as keeping any countertops clear. It’s not cheap at £125 but if you think of it as wall art as well as storage then it’s worth it. I really love it…. There’s a smaller one too that has the feel of an old-fashioned …

Get your kids enjoying craft

Most children are naturally creative and their imaginations allow them to turn an old box into 73 different things – just think how toddlers love to play with wrapping paper as much as the gift it enveloped. My two small people are aged 7 and 5 and one in particular has her mother’s love for sticking things, cutting things, colouring things and ideally, putting them all together to make something new. I have recently been presented with a tractor, musical instruments and animal masks and all before 7am – something that makes my heart sing (then sink somewhat wondering what chaos will greet me as the remains of her creativity!). School holidays are a great time to do a bit of craft with kids, but don’t panic if it’s not your sort of thing. You have a cup of tea and just chat to the small person as they do the messy bit. A few tips I’ve picked up along the way: 1. Cover your table. I bought a piece of oilcloth fabric (the wipe clean stuff – …

Online upcycle & craft videos – see me in action!

At the end of last year, the lovely people at Style at Home magazine asked me to make 4 videos for the Craft Corner section of their website to show you, step-by-step, how to upcycle furniture. I really enjoyed the process and it was fun to film the projects that I’ve been doing every month for the magazine for a while. I do honestly love doing up bits of old junk, or changing the use or look of something plain so to me this was a job from heaven. I’d be delighted if you have a few minutes to watch the videos – I hope you like them! There’s a folk inspired lamp which adds a fabulous pop of cheerful colour using a lampshade making kit (these are amazing – you gotta give one a go) and Annie Sloan chalk paint which sticks to anything it’s brilliant for furniture revamps. If your taste is different, follow the video using different combination of paint and fabric that suits your decor. Give a plain stool vibrant personality with paint and wrapping paper. …

We’re in print – House Beautiful

Last year we completed an extension to our house which has completely transformed our lives. We now have a big family room at the back of the house overlooking the lovely (well it will be when I learn basic horticulture) south-facing garden in which I spend most of my time because it’s a wonderful, light-filled space.. We designed the room so as not to disturb the kitchen we put in 7 years ago and this is all now featured in a fab House Beautiful magazine  called “Create Your Dream Home”. Pick a copy up to see lots of inspirational homes as well as some really useful advice if you’re considering work on your home. Check us out!